Morrinsville Art Gallery Charitable Trust Incorporated

About The Wallace Gallery, Morrinsville

The Wallace Gallery Morrinsville is a project borne out of passion and community vision: intended as a centre of excellence, showcasing New Zealand art and artists, providing a community focus and an ideal venue for inspiring and educating young people.

The Charitable Trust which is responsible for bringing this vision to life has garnered the respect and support of the art patron James Wallace, who has pledged the rights to exhibit the entire James Wallace Arts Trust collection in the new Morrinsville location. With the most comprehensive collection of contemporary New Zealand art in existence -more than 5000 pieces valued at over $50million and spanning over 50 years- it is an incredible accolade for Morrinsville Gallery, and a real coup for the area.

The largest of the three exhibition rooms (225 sq metres) in the new Gallery will solely house artwork from the Wallace Collection, which will be shown on a rotational basis changing approximately five times a year.
Of the other two exhibition spaces, one will display work by NZ artists from all over the country and the other will be dedicated to promoting and encouraging community art including school competitions and local art groups. Combined, these two exhibition spaces will be the largest of their kind in the Waikato region, and will provide a significant platform for emerging artists as well as established ones.

Major renovations have been done to the Old Post Office building on Morrinsville’s main street, which was been secured for the Gallery location in 2009. The Gallery Trust has been able to carry out the renovation work in full, thanks to fund-raising and generous community pledges.

The renovations to the Old Post Office have been documented on this website since construction began, in June 2010. Have a look at the images page to see the transformation of the building!

It has been the vision of the Gallery committee, from the project’s inception, to create a place of pride and inspiration for the community. A successful Art Gallery, run correctly, benefits the entire community and the surrounding area, and the Trust believes that the local indigenous population as well as the young people of the region will benefit the most.

The Gallery will host travelling exhibitions of New Zealand art, where these are available, undertake exhibitions of cultural significance and become a facility for a wide variety of art expression. It will be available for music recitals, public gatherings, private functions and the like where individuals are able to interact with all the forms of artistic expression on display. The Charitable Trust will also host its own functions in the Gallery.

The indigenous communities will be encouraged to participate as much as possible, and to this end the opening exhibition in the Gallery is a display of work from the local Iwi Ngati Haua. The Gallery Trust is confident that this early involvement from the Maori community will demonstrate that an Art Gallery is all-encompassing, and the Trust will strive to shatter the perception of Galleries being exclusive places which intimidate and discriminate.

Most importantly, the Charitable Trust feels that the new Gallery will provide a focal point for discussion, meeting and education. Art has always been a means by which ideas and emotions are expressed, and the viewer is part of that creative process. Having a Gallery in Morrinsville, with the James Wallace Arts Trust’s esteemed collection at its heart, will not only generate increased tourism, but also become an establishment frequented by schools and other groups.

It is intended that an educational program will be set up, as part of a joint venture with the James Wallace Arts Trust, local schools and the Wallace Gallery, Morrinsville. Schools in Morrinsville and the wider Waikato area will be encouraged to regularly visit the Gallery to look at all the work on display, to invite discussion among the pupils, and to engage in follow-up activities both in the Gallery and during the routine art classes at school.

Like the majority of rural communities in New Zealand there are many opportunities to participate in sport, but there is very little promotion of self-expression through artistic channels. It just takes a visit to a local school or college to appreciate the artistic talent in our country and the lack of opportunity afforded the young who wish to pursue this avenue.

Art is an essential part of a rounded education, where an enormous variety of topics can be discussed in a creative, open forum, and the Wallace Gallery Morrinsville will become a cornerstone for the community in this manner alone.